WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020
New Galaxy S22
New Galaxy S22
While the next Samsung phone isn't likely to release until February 2022, rumors and leaks abound on what to expect from it. The Galaxy S22 lineup is the latest in the popular flagship series and is rumored to come with a host of cool features, like new display tech, a smarter camera, faster charging and a powerful graphics processor supported by AMD.
Let's take a closer look at this next Galaxy phone series and what we've learned about it so far.
There are no surprises as far as the anticipated release date for the Samsung Galaxy S22, which is in early 2022. The Galaxy S21 came out in January 2021, so we’re expecting late January or early February 2022 for the Galaxy S22 release. Samsung will probably want to release a new phone sooner rather than later.
We don't see any curveballs on pricing, either. Rumors point to the same price ranges as last year, with the S22 starting at $799, the S22+ at $999 and the S22 Ultra at $1,199.
The display for the Samsung S22 could see a few significant changes. Possibilities include a sub-display camera, a low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) screen and smaller display sizes.
Sub-Display Front Camera
Rumors point to Samsung removing the punch-hole design in favor of a camera hidden beneath the screen. Sub-display cameras haven't taken off too quickly because of the technical limitations affecting photo quality.
Samsung's take on the issue appears to place a smaller "pop-up" display behind the main screen that slides into place when the camera is not in use. It would leave the camera unobstructed by the screen when needed and still create a full-screen appearance when the camera isn't in use.
Still, a sub-display design could be a big move for Samsung, especially as the company looks to one-up the iPhone's unfortunate notch. Another rumor, however, says that the tech for this under-display camera isn't quite up to par yet for the flagship. There were talks that it was intended for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 instead, and the phone does indeed sport the sub-display camera tech, so the jury's still out on whether we'll see it in the Galaxy S22 as well.
Many people weren't too impressed by the Galaxy Z Fold 3, though. The odd octagon of pixels that "hides" the 4-megapixel (MP) camera is pretty obvious. It might blend in a little better than the punch-hole camera, but the trade-off for a much lower-quality camera isn't one that every user will be happy with, especially considering the high price point of the $1,799.99 phone. The S21 and S21+, for reference, had 10MP front cameras, with the Ultra sporting 40MP camera.
LTPO allows the OLED display to vary its refresh rate, or the number of times a display updates each second.
Another big piece of display tech that might be coming to the S22 Ultra is the use of LTPO in the screen. This technology offers greater efficiency for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, which are incredibly common in consumer devices. Unfortunately, OLED displays, which typically use low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS), pull a lot of power. With LTPO, a display can alter how much energy it needs to use.
LTPO allows the OLED display to vary its refresh rate, or the number of times a display updates each second. Most phones use 60-Hertz (Hz) refresh rates, but more and more are offering ultra-smooth 120Hz rates, including the S21 phones. Currently, the Galaxy lineup supports 120Hz refresh rates, which create super-smooth graphics but can significantly reduce battery life. LTPO allows for adaptive refresh rates, in which the phone can scale its refresh rate from 120 Hz to 1 Hz as needed to save battery life.
That means a phone can drop its refresh rate down to 1 Hz while displaying virtually nothing, such as a notification on your phone, and ramp up to the full 120 Hz when you decide to play a demanding game.
One last piece of intel we have on the Galaxy displays is that they might actually be getting smaller. If the rumors are true, the S22's screen size will decrease to 6.06 inches from 6.2 inches, with the S22+ down to 6.5 inches from 6.7 inches and the S22 Ultra down to 6.81 inches from 6.9 inches. By keeping the screen sizes small, we see a continuation of the trend away from bigger and bigger screens — probably a good idea, considering half of Android Authority readers hate the large displays.
By using smaller screen sizes, Samsung could be meeting significant demand.
With the exceptional cameras already on the iPhone 12 line and likely to come with the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6, Samsung will need to improve its photography capabilities to keep up. There are a few different ways the company might do this.
200MP Rear and 50MP RGBW Cameras
One popular theory is that the S22 Ultra will be implementing a massive 200MP camera on the back — another increase from the already sizable 108MP wide-angle camera in the S21 Ultra. This piece of information comes from a well-known leaker, Ice Universe, who suggested the 200MP camera could be coming to the new Galaxy phones.
The Verge points out "conventional camera wisdom" that tells us smaller pixels generally create poorer image quality with more noise. When discussing the announcement of their new image sensor, the ISOCELL JN1, in June, Samsung stated that moving toward smaller pixels provides greater form factor versatility. The sensor has a smaller size and could help reduce the height of the primary camera bump.
Ice Universe also mentioned a 50MP RGBW camera. Typical camera sensors, including those used in phones, use RGB, or red, green and blue sub-pixels to reproduce colors, but an RGBW camera adds a white sub-pixel to the mix.
While it can have a few different effects, this extra sub-pixel will likely offer better contrast. It should create improved highlights in low-light scenes. Ideally, the colors would look closer to what our eyes see since the phone doesn't have to use its RGB sensor to compensate.
Improved Image Processing Software
The theory that seems to be looking the most likely is that Samsung will focus on software changes like computational photography and image signal processing.
Of course, adding that capability isn't the only possible change to the camera system. The theory that seems to be looking the most likely is that Samsung won't be adding the higher megapixel count to the Ultra and will instead focus on software changes like computational photography and image signal processing:
- Computational photography: Computational photography is the backbone of features like Portrait Mode on the iPhone and the Google Pixel's Night Sight®. Instead of creating one image that can't be changed, computational photography collects more data that lets the user "modify" the image later. You can, for instance, change the lighting or background blur and compile multiple nighttime photos with varying exposures into one crystal-clear image.
- Image signal processing: Image signal processing (ISP) covers a broad range of modifications made by the phone as it rebuilds the image sensor's raw electric data into the pictures and previews we see on our phones. ISP takes care of everything from auto white balance, contrast, exposure, noise reduction, distortion correction, image stabilization and much more. Beefing up these capabilities can mean considerable improvements in image quality.
These are both areas where Apple has demonstrated strong competition. While Samsung has moved toward high megapixel counts, Apple stuck with 12MP cameras backed by excellent internal processing. Samsung could get the best of both worlds if it pursues these software improvements. If it does take the software-focused route, we might be seeing just a 50MP main lens on the S22 and S22+ but with better tech. Still, the Ultra is often in a league of its own, so it's unclear what mixture of technology we'll see.
An Olympus Partnership
To create these potentially high-powered cameras, Samsung may be partnering with camera manufacturer Olympus, which announced the likelihood of future partnerships back in February. Olympus® is well-known for its quality cameras, but so is Samsung. Many have questioned whether Samsung really needs Olympus and if this partnership might be more for brand recognition than quality improvements.
8K Recording at 60 Frames per Second
Other exciting possibilities in the rumor mill include 8K recording at 60 frames per second (fps). Unfortunately, this tech seems to be struggling. Recent updates indicate that the 8K 60fps recording system overheats the phone. This was the same reason that Samsung limited S20 phones to just 5 minutes of 8K 24fps recording. Unless Samsung can figure out a way to prevent this, possibly through a new Exynos® chip, we'll likely be waiting for the S23 before we see this capability.
Continuous Optical Zoom
Ice Universe tells us that an improved periscope camera could bring continuous optical zoom to the phones. Most periscope zoom cameras use fixed lenses at certain intervals, such as 2x, 3x and 10x. Digital zoom takes over in between and creates poorer image quality. A continuous zoom lens can move freely between zoom levels and creates a much sharper photo. It's the same technology you see on digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras.
There isn't much news on the battery front, but with the phones likely being thinner, we could be seeing smaller battery sizes.
We do have news on the charging speed — another claim from Ice Universe tells us that Samsung is working on fast-charging up to 45 or 65 watts (W). In comparison, the S21 phones currently come with 25W chargers. The last time a Galaxy phone had charging capabilities higher than 25W was on the S20 Ultra, which offered 45W charging speeds.
First off, a sneaky hint during Samsung's August event pointed toward two bright colors, Flamingo Pink and Pistachio Green.
One rumor says that only the S22 Ultra will have a glass back.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 895 chip is likely to be used in Samsung's new phones.
We could also see some much better graphics through a collaboration with AMD and their Radeon DNA (RDNA).
We could see vapor-cooling technology, often used in gaming devices. Samsung has used it before, in the S10 Plus, the S20 and the Note 20.
As for general specs, we've seen rumors regarding colors, the new Snapdragon 865 chip and graphics power:
- Colors: First off, a sneaky hint during Samsung's August event pointed toward two bright colors, Flamingo Pink and Pistachio Green. The presentation showed the phrase "SS22 colors" written with the S Pen stylus beside a window with light green and baby pink clothing next to the color names. The S21 is currently available in more subdued colors, including lavender purple, gray, white and light pink.
- Build: The S21 lineup offers glass backings for the S21+ and the S21 Ultra, but one rumor says that only the S22 Ultra will have a glass back. That leaves the other two options with a less-premium plastic backing.
- Processor: Qualcomm's Snapdragon® 895 chip is likely to be used in Samsung's new phones, and they may be the one to manufacture the chips with a more advanced 4-nanometer process, as opposed to the 5nm architecture of the last iteration.
- Graphics: We could also see some much better graphics through a collaboration with AMD and their Radeon DNA (RDNA) — the same tech used in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. AMD has already confirmed that it will be bringing its graphics tech to the next generation of Samsung Exynos chips, which are used in markets outside the U.S. and China. It's unclear if this technology will come to Snapdragon-supported devices, too. If it does, it brings ray tracing and variable rate shading capabilities for a better gaming experience.
- Cooling: Lastly, we could see vapor-cooling technology, often used in gaming devices. Samsung has used it before, in the S10 Plus, the S20 and the Note 20. Oddly enough, it wasn't in every model, likely due to fragility concerns, but its popularity among users significantly boosted sales. Vapor cooling is generally reserved for more powerful devices that risk overheating and throttling, so their presence could indicate greater power and gaming functionality.
Those last few additions point to some big benefits for gamers. The phone could be quite the powerhouse with its vapor chamber cooling and AMD graphics power. Ray tracing is a graphics rendering method that offers realistic lighting and reflections, traditionally reserved for some of the best graphics cards. Bringing it to mobile could be a big move on Samsung's part.
Watch for More Updates on the Samsung Galaxy S22
With everything we've learned, the Galaxy S22 lineup is shaping up to be a powerful new addition to Samsung's collection. Since it's not expected for at least another four months, there's plenty of time for some new information to leak, so keep an eye out for more details about Samsung's latest flagship.
If you're thinking about buying a phone from the S22 lineup this year, ecoATM can help you get cash for your old device. We believe in keeping old phones out of landfills and giving them a chance at a second life where we can. Help us meet that goal — and maybe get some cash at the same time — by selling or recycling your old device! Learn more about the process or find an ecoATM kiosk near you.
Watch for More Updates on the Samsung Galaxy S22
If you're thinking about buying a phone from the S22 lineup next year, ecoATM can help you get cash for your old device.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020